OrH Newsletter - April 18, 2017
Words of the Spirit
Holy Days, Holy Weeks, Holy Acts
With the overlap of Passover, Holy Week and Easter this year, it is even more tempting than usual to look at the ritual, spiritual and communal similarities and differences between the two religions.
Ritually, the external forms of Judaism and Christianity diverge significantly, just as they do at any time of the year. However, the underlying spiritual meanings of several symbols within each tradition evoke similar resonance with the season. Spring, renewal, and rebirth – these echo at the Passover seder as well as Easter gatherings.
In a season fraught with global threats on a scale not witnessed in decades, it’s the communal similarities and differences that draw my interest this year. In general, the Jewish people lack a singular voice, or address, from which a seasonal message emanates. Congregational rabbis, denominational heads, local or regional federations and agencies – each may serve up a greeting or message targeted at their particular constituency. Even our political representatives take note and offer seasonal greetings, as they do for the Jewish New Year (and, despite its relative unimportance, Hanukkah).
And while it’s true that we might see such localized or fragmented communications within the Christian world, there is at least one world leader who sends out a message regarding global concerns, tied to this sacred season – the Pope.
In a message titled "To the City and the World," as quoted in an article from Reuters, Pope Francis evoked an image of God walking “beside all those forced to leave their homelands as a result of armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, famine and oppressive regimes…. Repeatedly during Holy Week services, Francis has drawn attention to the plight of war victims, refugees and migrants. On Good Friday, he spoke of the 'shame' of humanity becoming inured to daily scenes of bombed cities and drowning migrants.”
This brings to mind the American non-profit HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, founded in 1881 to assist Jews fleeing pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe. Like JIAS in Canada, they are on the forefront of providing aid to resettling displaced persons from all across the globe. It is the sole Jewish organization pledged to assisting refugees whatever their location or situation. These agencies are our conscience, our “pope.”
In their supplement to the haggadah for 2017, HIAS invited us to make the connections between the story we were telling at the seder table with the plight of the 65 million currently wandering the planet in search of freedom and safety. To thematic with the rituals already in place – breaking the matzah, pouring the wine – they added a new component: the placing of shoes by the door, evocative of welcoming the prophet Elijah, yet also reminiscent of the quick get-aways of our ancestors.
Some of us are already directly engaged in responding “Jewishly” to the refugee crisis; we remain connected, as a congregation, to a communal response in Ottawa as a member of the Shalom Group. It’s prophetic work, it’s hands-on work, and it’s the ongoing work of redemption in which we need to engage.
- Rabbi Liz
We sadly announce the death on April 2 in Frankfurt, Germany of former OrH member Edgar Sarton at age 94. He was buried in Frankfurt on April 9. May God console the extended Sarton family among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
Multifaith Housing Initiative Concert and Tulipathon
On Sunday April 30, 2017, the MHI will present a multicultural concert to support The Haven. Rabbi Liz will be performing in the concert. The Haven is a newly opened, 98-unit subsidized housing complex in Barrhaven.
The concert will be held at Barrhaven United Church, 3013 Jockvale Road, at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $20 ($10 for students) from Barrhaven United Church (613-825-1707) or may be purchased for $25 at the door ($15 for students). Free refreshments and parking will be provided.
On Sunday, May 7th a team from OrH will be walking in the annual Tulipathon in support of MHI's annual fund raising to provide good quality affordable housing for low-income households in Ottawa. Donate to the Or Haneshamah Team (tax receipts for $15 or more) and if you are able to do so, join the walk. It will take place starting at 3 p.m., near Commissioner’s Park at Dow’s Lake. We will meet for brunch at 11:30 at Il Primo, 416 Preston Street before the walk.
Donate through CanadaHelps (https://www.canadahelps.org/dn/10229), indicating Tulipathon Fund and noting Or Haneshamah Team in the message box. Or, if you prefer, you are welcome to provide Chris Lewis (email@example.com) with a cheque or cash (as well as your contact information) and she will add it to Team Or Haneshamah pledge sheet and arrange for a tax receipt if applicable. You are also welcome to contact Chris with any questions you might have.
If you are interested in helping create the banner for our team, please contact Chris.
For more information about MHI please visit our website or contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visits to Our Sibling Congregations – May 12th In Toronto, June 17th in Montreal
Or Haneshamah is connected with our sibling Reconstructionist congregations in Toronto and Montreal and we will be visiting each other over the next few months. Darchei Noam (Toronto) has invited us to join them the weekend of May 12th when they will be hosting a study weekend with a visiting scholar. Dorchei Emet (Montreal) has invited us to join them for Shabbat morning services on June 17th. We will be inviting Montreal and Toronto to join us this summer for one of our Shabbats in the Park. More details to come.
Upcoming Services and Events
Friday, April 28, 2017
OrH members welcome new and old members, their friends and family to each other's homes for a pot-luck shabbat meal and celebration. Held on the fourth Friday of every month. Want to host? Learn more? Visit the Shabbat-Around-the-Table page, or contact Jan at email@example.com.
Saturday, April 29, 2017
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Room 6, Lower Level Unitarians
Celebrate Yom Hatzama’ut (Israel Independence Day) with a presentation by OrH members. Please bring a dessert to share.
Bar Mitzvah / Shabbat Morning with Torah Service
Saturday, May 6, 2017
9:45 AM - 12:15 PM, Worship Hall/Fellowship Hall
We celebrate a Bar Mitzvah at this morning's service. All are invited to a Kiddush luncheon in Fellowship Hall following the service. Please RVSP to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 26 if you plan to attend the Kiddush.
Shabbat Dinner and Shira
Friday, May 12, 2017
6:30 PM - 9:00 PM, Room 5, lower level of Unitarians
Bring your Voices! For those not traveling to our sister congregation in Toronto Darchei Noam, join us for pot-luck Shabbat meal followed by a Shira (Song Circle). Bring your instruments and your copies of Rise Up Singing and Rise Again. Feel free to come for dessert and singing if you can’t make it for dinner.
Yom Hatzama’ut (Israel Independence Day)
Come and celebrate Yom Hatzama’ut (Israel Independence Day) on Saturday, April 29 at 7pm, Room 6, lower level at the Unitarian. OrH members will speak about a recent women's trip to Israel with a group from Ottawa and from around the world and about the town of Metula in the north of Israel. Please bring a dessert to share.
Read the April edition of Reconstructionism Today, the monthly newsletter of the Jewish Reconstruction Community: http://bit.ly/2ozR9JE.
Save the date: The Reconstructionist Convention 2018 is taking place November 15-18, 2018 in Philadelphia. Join with other Reconstructionists to sing, pray, learn, eat and be together. Strengthen our networks and deepen our connections. Celebrate the movement and 50 years of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. More info: https://www.jewishrecon.org/event/reconstructionist-movement-convention.
In The Ottawa Community
* = New item this week
* State and Religions in Israel: The Regulation of Marriage and Divorce
Watch this year's Edgar and Dorothy Davidson Lecture, "State and Religions in Israel: The Regulation of Marriage and Divorce," by Ruth Gavison, the Haim H. Cohn Professor emerita of Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a member of the Israeli Academy of Science. Professor Gavison is a founding member and past Chairperson and President of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and founding President of Metzilah, a center for Zionist, Jewish, liberal and humanist thought: https://carleton.ca/jewishstudies/video/
Jewish Federation's annual Yom Hashoah Commemoration
On Sunday, April 23, at 7 p.m. Cantor David S. Wisnia accompanied by his grandson Avi, an award-winning composer, will share his remarkable account of survival through story and song at the Jewish Federation of Ottawa's annual Yom Hashoah Commemoration at the Soloway JCC. Cantor David S. Wisnia is both a Holocaust survivor and a liberator. He survived close to three years in Auschwitz by singing for the Nazi SS. In 1944, he was transferred to Dachau, surviving the Death March and was then rescued by the American 101 Airborne Division and became involved in active combat to help liberate others during the closing days of the war with Germany. Event is free. Seating is first-come-first-served. More information at: http://bit.ly/2nH9UXQ.
Canadian Friends of Peace Now, Ottawa Chapter, is presenting the film Colliding Dreams in Ottawa, Sunday, May 7, 2017, 3:30 pm at St. Paul Univ. Auditorium, 223 Main St. Ottawa. Doors open 3:00 pm, film starts 3:30 pm. Admission $15 in advance; $20 at the door; $10 students. Advance Registration at: https://collidingdreams2017.eventbrite.ca. For more info email email@example.com or call 613.222.3838.
About "Colliding Dreams": The century-old conflict in the Middle East continues to play a central role in world politics. And yet, amidst this fierce, often-lethal controversy, the Zionist idea of a homeland for Jews in the land of ancient Israel remains little understood and its meanings often distorted. "Colliding Dreams" presents a gripping exploration of Zionism’s meaning, history and future.
Jewish Federation's Volunteer Centre
The Jewish Federation's Volunteer Centre is looking for volunteers to assist with a wide range of activities in the community. There is something for everyone. For a complete list of opportunities visit https://jewishottawa.com/volunteering. Help give back! Volunteers help make our community strong! For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Leslie Kaufman at 613-798-4696, ext. 297.
Donations to OrH
Donations are a significant part of the funding for activities and rabbinic support in our community. You can direct your contribution to different areas of Or Haneshamah’s activity:
Donations toward ongoing congregational operations:
- General donations, which fund programming, rabbinic leadership, and essential administrative costs.
- Donations in honour of, or in memory of, a person or event. All such donations are acknowledged through the Or Haneshamah card program, which sends notices of donation and a personalized message to a designated recipient.
- Dedication of ritual objects and books. We are currently seeking donations of $54 for each new copy of our Machzor (high holiday prayer book). Donations will be recognized by bookplates that may be in honour of, or in memory of, a person or event.
- Gita Taub Education Fund, which supports educational programming and access for members who would otherwise be unable to afford participation in Or Haneshamah or other valuable activities. Our present focus for disbursements from the fund is OrH’s new Machaneh Shabbat (Shabbat Camp) for primary school-aged children, which launched in September.
- Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund. Donations that the Rabbi gives to people in need or to support charities the Rabbi deems important.
Please make any of the above donations through the website by clicking on the "Donate" menu item.
Or Haneshamah Endowment Fund
Established in May 2016, the Endowment Fund is a pool of financial assets that is invested to provide a reliable and ongoing source of income for our community's activities. Annual payouts from the fund go into Or Haneshamah's general revenues. Donations are made through the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation (OJCF) online at www.ojcf.ca or by telephone at 613-798-4696 ext 274.
Thank you for your generosity and support of OrH!
Our community’s long time practice is to welcome egg, dairy and fish on the potluck table. Please label your meal contributions with all ingredients to help people with food allergies or sensitivities; also advise kitchen staff whether dish is to be served hot or cold.
Rides to Services and Events
Will you need a ride to services and OrH events? Are you able to offer a ride to services OrH events? We encourage members to be generous with their offers of rides. Please contact email@example.com with your name and area of the city you are coming from.
A Caring Community
Members are encouraged to contact the rabbi or any board member to let us know about your pastoral care needs, or the needs of another member, whether related to a new or an ongoing circumstances. These may include such situations as a pending hospitalization, a change in health, relationship, or employment status, other life transitions, or the death of a loved one. Through knowing what is happening in each other’s lives, we give each other, including our rabbi, the opportunity to perform acts of gemilut hasadim/loving kindness, the hallmark of a caring community.
We Are Listening
How do you feel things are going in our community? Do you have ideas about programs or events that we should pursue? What aspects of Or Haneshamah do you feel are working well, and what do you think can be improved? In the interest of making OrH the best community that it can be, the board and rabbi invite you to submit comments and feedback at any time. Please send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org or directly to any member of the board (email addresses below).
Board of Directors
President: Paula, email@example.com
Treasurer: Jacob, firstname.lastname@example.org
Education: Heni, email@example.com
Communications: David, firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary: David, email@example.com
Membership: Janet, firstname.lastname@example.org
Member-at-Large: Lina, email@example.com
Member-at-Large: Gail, firstname.lastname@example.org
Past President: Mark, email@example.com
Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton: firstname.lastname@example.org
Members are welcome to contact Rabbi Liz, or any member of the board, regarding pastoral needs.
Or Haneshamah frequently receives requests to post notices of upcoming events in the community at-large. These events run the range from cultural, educational, and in some cases explorations of topical political issues. In the interest of providing information to our congregation about the diversity of interesting events in the Ottawa community we will post notices of these events in our regular newsletter.
We recognize also that from time to time we are requested to post notices of events which are highly controversial in nature and reflect a wide range of opinions among our congregation on particular issues. We are, however, of the opinion that it is appropriate for us to post events taking place in the community which may challenge us, which may cause discomfort, and which may cause us to reflect on some of our beliefs. Our openness to post notices for a wide range of community events, however, does not mean that we have abdicated our responsibility to show discernment and to distinguish between those events which demonstrate an open-minded and thoughtful approach to specific issues and those which do not appear to reflect such values. So, we will make judgments about what notices we believe are appropriate to post and those which we believe will not contribute to a thoughtful and balanced exploration of ideas and issues.
Will we make mistakes along the way? Probably. But the possibility of errors of judgment does not mean that we can excuse ourselves from the responsibility to show judgment in posting notices about events in the community and we promise to do so with openness tempered by a sense of responsibility.
In agreeing to post any notice of an event in the community, Or Haneshamah does not endorse, support or promote any perspectives, positions or ideas expressed in the events which are posted in our newsletter.